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430                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
own scanty education. In 1834 Shah Shuja, after
obtaining an advance of his pension from the Govern-
ment of India, made a desperate attempt to recover the
throne. He defeated Kuhandil Khan, brother of Dost
Mohamed, and besieged Kandahar, but was repulsed in
the end by a force from Kabul, led by Dost Mohamed in
The Burnes Mission.—In 1836 Lord Auckland, the
Governor-General, despatched Alexander Burnes on a
"commercial" mission to Kabul, where he was well re-
ceived by Dost Mohamed, whom he had visited as a
traveller four years previously. The wish of the Amir
was to reunite to his kingdom Peshawar on the east
and Herat on the west, and he hoped that by means of
a British alliance he would be able to obtain one, if not
both, of his objects. Shortly after the arrival of Burnes,
Captain Vitkavich, a Russian " commercial " agent, reached
Kabul. He had travelled from Persia via Kandahar, and
at that city had induced Kuhandil Khan, who was dis-
loyal to his brother, to promise to co-operate with the
Persians against Herat.
Dost Mohamed paid little attention to the Russian,
and offered to send a force to the assistance of Yar
Mohamed Khan, the Vizier of Kamran Mirza and the
virtual ruler of Herat. In return he stipulated for a
subsidy with which to maintain the troops, and for his re-
cognition by the Government of India as Amir of Kabul.
Burnes, who was favourably impressed by the Afghan
prince, realized that it would be sound policy to strengthen
his hands, and, in consequence strongly supported his
demands for a subsidy and for recognition. With regard
to Peshawar he recommended that an arrangement should
be made with Ran]it Singh, by which Dost Mohamed
should hold the city and pay tribute for it to Lahore,
as his brother had done. These reasonable terms were
rejected by Lord Auckland, who demanded the dismissal
of Vitkavich and the renouncement by Dost Mohamed
of all claims to the provinces conquered by Ranjit Singh.
Throughout the Governor-General entirely failed to realize
the situation^ and he censured Burnes for promising his